Dalkeith Country Park

Time seems to be the most precious commodity at the moment. Every time I look at the date it sends a shock through me. Crikey! We’re into the final third of the year and the season is starting to shift here into a more autumnal tone.

I rebel against change. It’s an instinct that I fight because I know the importance of change. But, sometimes, a little pragmatic rebellion on one aspect can help sooth the panic of too much change at once. In short, a walk around Dalkeith Country Park was in order.

The weather, blessedly, held up for one day long enough to get a final summer walk in. We had blue skies and warm enough temperatures not to even need our raincoats and woolly jumpers. Now, a week later, these garments are rather more required. But Dalkeith Country Park is a site known for its rebellion against the weather.

The Orangerie at Dalkeith Country Park

The grand Orangerie sits in the grounds of the estate. Now open to the elements, the the 12-sided, intricately carved stone building would once have had enormous panes of glass in the windows. Huge boilers would have heated the space to a temperature suitable to grow oranges amongst other things, which is decidedly not typical of the Scottish climate.

Dalkeith Palace looks like something out of Downton Abbey. Amusingly, it has moved with the times and is used as the campus for the University of Wisconsin in Scotland which I imagine would be an excellent location to study. I wonder if wandering through the grand front door becomes normal after a few months?

Dalkeith Palace from the grounds

We took the long walk through the grounds, covering about 8 km, through the woodlands and along the river. Some of the trees date back 900 years and the site itself perhaps back to Roman times. I’ve been enjoying my history lately and it’s interesting to run across the reminders of how the Lothian region was under Roman occupation at some points.

We ended up sharing the Park with a hoard of 80s rock enthusiasts out for a concert, which makes the whole day seem rather surreal in retrospect. Another small rebellion against the passage of time, perhaps. It felt like the Park had a good balance overall – the beauty and history of the Park has been maintained but it’s not going stale from lack of use. Given how easy it is to access via public transport or otherwise, it’s a wonderful day trip from Edinburgh.

I cast on my Spark Socks on the 1st September. They are rather further along than shown in the photo below. I sat and watched the first Harry Potter movie and suddenly I was at the heel turn.

Spark Socks – 1st September 2021 cast on

I’ve got another sock nearly completed and plenty of knitting chat for next time so I’ll leave this as mostly ramble related.

Colour my city

June was absolutely beautiful.

It was a strange month – I sat exams in May and got results in July. June existed in a sunny limbo, free of consequences but still trapped by the future. Thankfully, yesterday’s results were positive. Normal life jolted back into existence, complete with quiet Saturday mornings with my knitting.

But everything has changed because I’ve discovered dying yarn.

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One round stripes

One round stripes are forever linked to the ships & seaside cowl I knit for my mum in December 2013. That was the month I got my offer to study at the University of Edinburgh, incidentally enough. I was tired after a term of A-Levels and had big, horrible exams looming ahead of me. Over Christmas, I mentioned to my mum that knitting something might be fun and within about 2 minutes she had gotten yarn, needles and a pattern from her stash and I was knitting her a cowl she’d had her eye on. Child labour of the worst sort, honestly.

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Saturday’s and Crochet

It’s 8 am on a Saturday here and it feels like I’ve had a lie-in. My university self would be so confused. I’ve decamped to the living room with my blanket and a cup of tea (a smoky Russian loose leaf tea situation) and there’s pain au chocolat in the oven again. But instead of carrying my knitting through, I picked up my trusty project from the last few weeks: my crochet blanket.

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The Finish Line: Stash Dash

So apparently, I’m going for monthly updates at the moment. Oops. Oh well. August has passed in a blur of getting ready for my first adult job, and by getting ready I mean getting my fill of sleepy days wandering around in pjs. Edinburgh was lovely and rained most of the time so I could justify staying in and reading and knitting. Then the inevitable happened last Monday: my long summer ended and work started.

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Needle-lessly Troublesome Gauge

The day after I wrote the last post, two things occurred. The weather got infinitely better and I measured my swatch for Bonny by tincanknits. My gauge was so badly off, I needed to go out into the sunshine and forget about it.

It is a favourite trick of mine to work out the measurements of the garment should I knit it at that gauge. I discovered this trick when chatting to my mother about a swatch she had just knit.

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